The action, which came following a closed session, includes a total “package” of about $165,000 annually, counting both salary and fringe benefits, Albritton said Thursday.
In other action Tuesday night, the board approved the “first reading” of the Texas Assn. of School Board’s Policy Update 98, which Albritton said in part prohibits use of the controversial “Common Core” curriculum. (GISD was not currently using the curriculum anyway.)
The policy update also removes the prohibition against students possessing switchblade knives at school, allows bus drivers to require a principal talk to a student on a bus under certain circumstances, and allows “Christian symbols” at winter celebrations, he said.
In addition, the update regulates the amount of time students can be pulled from classes for remediation without parental consent, requires granting an excused absence to students who act as election clerks, allows grievances to be made by telephone, and revises the circumstances under which school board members must file an Open Records Request to obtain information, Albritton said.
In other action Tuesday, the board approved the Gilmer High School Course Selection Guide for 2014-2015, with Albritton announcing that GISD will require the overwhelming majority of students to pass Algebra II in order to graduate, although the state doesn’t require it.
An exception will be made only for students who are two or more years behind in school, and who will have a “minimum” graduation plan, he said.
Discussing some of the high school classes, High School Counselor Charlynn Harrell told trustees GHS has a pharmacology course which allows students to become pharmacy technicians right after graduating. That job entails mixing and bottling prescription drugs, she noted.
The school also has sports medicine classes, and a group of auto technology students recently won a $10,000 set of tools for GHS, Ms. Harrell added.
In other action Tuesday night, trustees approved seeking expedited state waivers for the 2014-2015 school year—the same waivers the school applies for yearly, Albritton said.
Sigrid Yates, GISD’s curriculum director, said the waivers in part involve such matters as the amount of time for staff development, early release on school days, and the amount of time for accelerated instruction.
The board also approved adding a goal to the handbook for the Gifted/Talented program to explain its “enriched curriculum.”
In addition, trustees viewed a photographic presentation on the high school’s Drama Department, shown by teacher Ben Patrick, who was cited for a GISD “Pride” award.
Albritton strongly praised Patrick for “enhancing the theatre arts” area, including expanding its stage, and devoting at least 400 man-hours outside normal work time. The superintendent said the school now has “probably one of the nicest stages” for intimate presentations in East Texas, and pointed out Patrick has a background in construction.
Patrick showed photos of the theatre arts area before and after its renovation, noting Boy Scouts were among those who helped with it last summer. He said he believed GHS has the best lighting system of any East Texas high school.
He also showed his students in costume for their presentation of Alice in Wonderland. He said they made most ot the outfits and rented others.
Patrick said he has 51 students, some of whom are involved in a presentation called Ten Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.
At the meeting’s outset, board members’ dais had been bedecked with flowers and gift baskets from students in accordance with the state’s “School Board Appreciation Month.”
School officials and representatives of various student groups detailed what gifts each campus and group had presented the trustees, with the items ranging from cookies to bandages, batteries and tee shirts, among others.
Board President Jeff Rash joked that the high school band had presented gifts because “They’re just trying to get approval for a Hawaii trip.”
During that presentation, agriculture teacher Russell Thomas reported that his Future Farmers of America students had placed in four of nine projects last weekend at a contest in Ft. Worth and had won about $15,000 in tools and equipment. School Board Member Mike Tackett said he was in Ft. Worth when he learned of the contest and that he attended it.